13 - 15 July 2012
National Tennis Centre
Quicksand Stage 2
The inaugural ITF Beach Tennis World Team Championship, saw 15 teams from around the world battle it out over three days to be crowned the world’s top beach tennis nation.
The finals day, however, not only saw the top two nations competing for the world title but play-off finals meant all teams were locked in battle to decide their nation’s final position.
The four seeded nations, Italy (1), Brazil (2), France (3) and Russia (4) progressed to the semi finals with relative ease.
Tournament favourites Italy got better as the event progresses, seeing off France in the semifinal for the chance to compete for the title.
Having knocked-out the hosts Russia in the semifinal, Brazil joined Italy on centre court for the first World Team Championship final.
A hard fought match by the ladies put Italy in the driving seat as they took the match 62 64 to take a 1-0 lead in the tie.
The Italian men were not about to let the opportunity slip them by as they produced truly world class beach tennis. Brazil could find no response as their attacking play was countered by the quick reactions and impossible court covering of their opponents.
As the crowds watched in awe, the Italian men wrapped up the match 61 61 to seal the tie and confirm Italy as the number one beach tennis nation.
The host nation Russia were not lacking home support as they hit the sand for their third place play-off tie against France.
Putting their compatriots through an emotional rollercoaster, the Russia ladies were forced into a third set as France saved two match points in the second before winning the set on a tie break.
The Russians made no mistake in the third to win the opening match 75 67(5) 61 to give the hosts the upper hand in the tie.
In the men’s match it was the French who proved too strong as Romain Bourse’s athleticism and Francois Jouque’s ferocious smash proved too much for Levan Nanava and Igor Panin as France levelled the tie at one match all with a 64 62 win.
By now the crowd were on the edge of their seats with chants of ‘RU-SSI-A’ and ‘Allez les Bleus’ filling the stands. To the disappointment of the home fans, it was France who came out on top in the thrilling mixed match.
Despite a strong start in the first set for Russia, the French recovered a 4-1 deficit to take the set 75. A crucial break of serve at 4-4 in the second set gifted France a 75 64 victory and confirmed their status as the world’s third beach tennis nation.
Elsewhere, the battle for fifth place also required the decisive mixed match to break the deadlock as San Marino took on Germany. The San Marinese men got proceedings off to a strong start as former Davis Cup by BNP Paribas player William Forcellini and partner Christian Berardi wrapped up their match 63 62.
The German ladies needed three sets to dispatch of their opponents 64 46 61 before William Forcellini came back on court for the mixed to round off proceedings with a 61 61 victory for his country.
Having lost 2-1 in their previous tie to San Marino, the Austrians were determined to go out on a high note in their play-off for seventh place against Bulgaria.
Another tie which rested on the mixed match as the Austrian team of Martin Schmidt and Marlena Metzinger eventually came out on top against Petar Kirilov and Lazarina Stefanova of Bulgaria to claim the mixed 61 46 62 and win the tie 2-1 to take seventh place and leave Bulgaria in eighth.
After losing a tough first round match against the hosts and fourth seeds Russia, Portugal had looked strong as the battled for ninth place. Facing the Czech Republic in the final play-off match, the Portuguese men held their nerve to keep their nation in the tie before another three set decisive mixed match was required to break the deadlock.
Despite winning the first set on a tie break, the Czech Republic were unable to capitalise on their advantage and finally lost out to the Portuguese 67(5) 64 60.
Not wanting to break the pattern, the 11th place play-off also came down to the mixed match as the Cypriot ladies were outplayed by their Hungarian opposition 60 60 before the Cypriot men sought revenge with a convincing 60 61 victory to level the tie at 1-1.
The mixed was again a one-sided affair as Cyprus stormed to a 60 62 fin to claim the tie leaving Hungary to settle for 12th place.
Not wanting to upset the balance, the play-off for 13th place also required all three matches to settle it as Venezuela took on Belgium. The Belgian ladies came through a three set marathon 75 36 60 to give their nation the upper hand before their male compatriots were on the wrong side of another three settle epic 64 67(12) 63.
The Belgians needed just two sets to conclude the tie though as they went on to win the mixed 64 62 leaving Venezuela in fourteenth place.
Ukraine had a far simpler route to fifteenth place with a bye in their final play-off.
Winning nation: Italy
5th San Marino
10th Czech Republic
About the event
The Beach Tennis World Team Championship is a mixed competition in which nations compete against each other as a team. Each team is comprised of two men and two women, with ties consisting of a men’s doubles, women’s doubles and a mixed doubles match.